Paul Brief was born in Romania and educated at Lycée Charlemagne in Paris and Columbia College in New York City. He received his MD from New York Medical College, then trained in orthopedic surgery at Manhattan's prestigious NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases in the 1960s. In 1965, he was commissioned as a United States Naval Officer. In 1969, he was sent overseas to treat wounded Marines at First Medical Battalion Hospital in Danang, Vietnam. He was honorably discharged in 1971 with the rank of Lt. Commander. For his service, he was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with FMF Combat Operations Insignia (Bronze Star), Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal and Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm.
Paul lives in Rockland County, New York with his physician wife Rochelle. He has maintained an orthopedic practice for 40 years. He is a Clinical Assistant Professor at NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases. He is a member of the Vietnam Veterans of America and the Jewish War Veterans.